- The Danish government funds numerous Israeli and Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) directly through the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA), and indirectly through the United Nations, church groups, and aid organizations such as DanChurchAid and Oxfam GB.
- In 2013-2017, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs also received direct Danish funding through the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat (Secretariat), a joint mechanism for funding NGOs, created by the governments of Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands.1
- The Danish government also provides support to DanWatch, a vocal supporter of BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel.
- According to DANIDA’s Openaid website, in 2016–2018, the Danish government committed DKK 123.4 million ($18.6 million) to NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza.
- Many NGOs that receive Danish funding lead campaigns and political activities that are inconsistent with Danish government policies to promote peace and a two-state framework in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Many Danish-funded NGOs are centrally involved in anti-Israel BDS and lawfare
- On December 22, 2017, following a review of its support for Palestinian NGOs, Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen announced that Denmark would tighten conditions for Danish assistance to Palestinian NGOs.
- In October 2018, the Danish Foreign Minister announced a new policy regarding “Explanations about the conditions for Danish support for Israeli and Palestinian civil society organizations” and stating that “The use of Danish funds for political purposes, including BDS activities, is unacceptable” and Denmark would no longer fund organizations “associating with a terrorist movement,” “violating human rights principles,” or “questioning Israel’s right to exist.”
Investigations into Problematic Danish Funding
- In May 2017, a Secretariat-funded NGO, Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), inaugurated a youth center in the town of Burqa, near Nablus. The center is named after Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who in 1978 murdered 37 civilians, including 12 children.
- In response, the Danish Foreign Minister stated that he would investigate funding to NGOs stating, “if any of these organizations crossed a line… if a leader of one of these organizations for example publicly announced that they want to get rid of all Jews, or kill all Jews, anything like that, of course we will immediately close down the support… If you end up in a way where you have an aggressive rhetoric, wanting to kill people or do illegal things, then of course we will immediately close down the support…”
- On June 2, 2017, after further investigation, the Danish Foreign Minister stated that he was “outraged that WATC, claiming to work for human rights, not just glorified a terrorist, but also abused the trust of a generous people like the Danish. It is totally unacceptable, and I cannot too strongly denounce it. Denmark and Danish tax money should under no circumstances be used for anything that in any way glorify or promote terrorism. Therefore, we now require of WACT that they pay Danish support back” (emphasis added).
Funding via the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DANIDA)
- On October 19, 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark announced “new agreements with seven Israeli and Palestinian NGOs on support for human rights work in Palestine.” According to the Ministry, “This reduces the number of supported NGOs from past 23 to now 7, as well as underpinning tighter criteria.” The NGOS included on the project, titled “Strengthening Human Rights and Democratic Accountability,” are Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Gisha, Public Committee against Torture in Israel (PCATI), Democracy and Workers’ Rights Centre, Women’s Affairs Center, and Women’s Studies Center.
- Breaking the Silence received DKK 1,300,000.
- Breaking the Silence makes sweeping accusations based on anecdotal, anonymous, and unverifiable accounts of often low-ranked soldiers. These “testimonies” lack context, are politically biased, and erase the complicated reality in the West Bank. In addition, they reflect a distorted interpretation of the conflict in order to advance the political agenda of Breaking the Silence activists, thereby fueling the international campaigns against Israel.
- B’Tselem received DKK 1,525,000.
- Gisha received DKK 1,000,000
- Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) received DKK 650,000.
- Regularly circulates unverifiable allegations of Israeli torture, using them as the basis for campaigns in international forums and Israeli courts.
- Democracy and Workers’ Rights Centre (DWRC) received DKK 925,000.
- Women’s Affairs Center received DKK 1,100,000.
- Women’s Studies Center received DKK 925,000.
- Women’s Studies Center supports BDS campaigns.
- Falsely accuses Israel of “commit[ing] a massacre in the Jenin refugee camp.”
- Claims “[t]here has been an increase of acts of violence within society and against the Palestinian women, in particular, due to the violent conditions related to the Israeli occupation and the Palestinian territorial division in addition to prevailing culture and unfair legislations.”
- Breaking the Silence received DKK 1,300,000.
- The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)
- ICHR received DKK 10 million (2017-2018) from Denmark.
- ICHR is a “quasi-governmental Palestinian organization,” established in 1993 with a declared mandate “to follow-up and ensure that different Palestinian laws, by-laws and regulations, and the work of various departments, agencies and institutions of the State of Palestine and the Palestine Liberation Organization meet the requirements for safeguarding human rights.”
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat
- Denmark, together with the governments of Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, jointly funded the “Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat” (Secretariat). This funding mechanism had a budget of $20 million for over four years (2013-2017). The funds were managed by the Institute of Law at Birzeit University (IoL-BZU) in Ramallah and the NIRAS consulting firm. (Read NGO Monitor’s report “Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat: Abusing Public Funds to Perpetuate Conflict.”)
- The Secretariat, via NIRAS, received approximately DKK 34 million for 2013-2017 (see screenshot below).
- The Secretariat funded highly politicized NGOs that promote BDS campaigns and engage in legal warfare against Israeli officials and companies that do business with Israel. Some of these NGOs have reported ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the U.S., EU, Canada and Israel; promote blatant antisemitism; distort facts; advance a “1948 agenda”; exploit the false “apartheid” analogy; and undermine peace and contribute to radicalization.
- On December 22, 2017, following a review of its support for Palestinian NGOs, the Danish Foreign Ministry announced that it would cease funding to the Secretariat, stating that the “majority of Danish aid to the organizations, which was suspended in 2017, will not be paid. The Ministry also confirmed that donor cooperation will end at the end of the year .”
- On January 9, 2018, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen wrote to Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, confirming that “The work of the Secretariat had ended as planned in 2017.”
NGOs funded by the Secretariat include:
- BADIL (Secretariat core funding: $546,700)
- Founded to promote a Palestinian “right of return” and a leader of international BDS campaigns.
- BADIL holds annual “right of return contests” and has published antisemitic cartoons on its website, as well as imagery promoting the elimination of Israel, which is a widely recognized form of antisemitism. A cartoon that won a monetary prize for 2nd place in BADIL’s 2010 Al-Awda Nakba caricature competition is a blatant representation of classic antisemitic tropes, including a Jewish man, garbed in traditional Hasidic attire, with a hooked nose and side locks.
- Al-Haq (Secretariat core funding: $1,301,700)
- Al-Haq is a leader in anti-Israel “lawfare” campaigns and BDS activities. The NGO’s General Director Shawan Jabarin is allegedly linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist organization by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel.
- Al-Haq proposed sabotaging the Israeli court system by “flooding the [Israeli Supreme] Court with petitions in the hope of obstructing its functioning and resources.” In October 2013, Al-Haq and Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) held a meeting with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to present a legal opinion that accused Israel of “widespread and systematic commission of international crimes and violations of international law.”
- Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) (Secretariat core funding: $1,121,700)
- PCHR describes Israel’s policies as “apartheid” and accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing,” “war crimes,” and the “Judaization of Jerusalem,” while regularly distorting or denying the context of terrorism against Israeli civilians.
- Active in international legal campaigns that seek arrest warrants against Israeli government officials, and lobby for cases against Israelis at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
- In an interview, PCHR director Raji Sourani admitted that he served “a three-year sentence [1979-1982] imposed by an Israeli court which convicted him of membership in the illegal Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine…” He was also denied a US entry visain 2012.
- In February 2014, the PFLP organized a ceremony in Gaza honoring Sourani for winning the “Alternative Noble (sic) Prize.”
- DanChurchAid (DCA) (Folkekirkens Nødhjælp)
- In 2017, total income was DKK 691.5 million; total expenses were DKK 455.4 million, of which DKK 27 million was spent in the “West Bank/Gaza.”
- This included DKK 168.5 million from Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), DKK 66 million from the European Union, and DKK 157.5 million from “International Donors” (United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Germany, Church of Sweden, ICCO (Netherlands), and the United Nations).
- According to DanChurchAid, “For the Middle East, we recorded the second highest activity totalling DKK 101.1m, or 17.5%. Most activities took place in the West Bank/Gaza (DKK 27.2m), where activities were aimed at protecting democratic values”
- DanChurchAid (DCA) partners with some of the most politicized NGOs active in the Arab-Israeli conflict, including BADIL, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC), Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ), Maan Development Center, Palestinian Working Women’s Society for Development (PWWSD), Grassroots Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, Women’s Affairs Center (WAC), and Youth Empowerment Center (YEC).
- On May 30, 2017, DanChurchAid posted a response to criticism against its partnerships with organizations and individuals with alleged ties to terrorism and that promote antisemitism.
- DCA acknowledged that “Jabrin [Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Palestinian NGO Al-Haq] was in prison for 9 months back in the 1980’s accused of helping two members of the organisation PFLP to travel for training.”
- DCA also defends its annual funding to the Palestinian NGO Badil (DKK 300,000) and attempts to deflect allegations of antisemitism associated with this funding by claiming that “the one [poster] from 2015 – was just submitted for a competition and as such is not a Badil product and was not published by Badil.”
- However, the 2015 drawing in question, which depicts a fist punching through the entire State of Israel, was indeed published by Badil.
- Badil’s website currently displays numerous similar images depicting the elimination of Israel. This includes a 2016 poster that contains the Badil emblem. In addition to its graphic publications, Badil maintains a narrative of Israel as a “settler colonial and racist state.”
- In 2010 following correspondence with NGO Monitor, DCA agreed with NGO Monitor conclusions about another BADIL poster noting “that this caricature is anti-Semitic.”
DanChurchAid support for Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
- DCA “in cooperation with the Danish Council of Churches and the Inter-Religious Council, sends volunteers to the West Bank” with Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
- EAPPI activists consistently demonize Israel, making accusations of “apartheid,” “war crimes,” and “Bantustans.” The NGO also calls the security barrier, which has saved countless lives from suicide bombings, “evil.”
- Upon returning to their home countries, many EAPPI activists use their experience in the West Bank to promote anti-Israel campaigns, including promoting BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions).
- Between 2017-2019, DanChurchAid granted EAPPI with DKK 328,995.
NGO Grantees (amounts in Danish kroner (DKK) unless specified)
|Implementing partners||Funding - Total||Year / s|
|Breaking the Silence||300,000||2016-2017|
|Applied Research Institute Jerusalem (ARIJ)||662,370||2017-2019|
|Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counseling (WCLAC)||308,000||2016-2018|
|Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC)||Undisclosed||2015|
|Women’s Affairs Center||230,319||2017|
|Who Profits||NIS 13,199||2017|
|Ma’an Development Center||3,075,193||2017-2018|
|Norwegian Church Aid||5,518,158||2016-2020|
|ACT Alliance EU||142,500||2017-2019|
|Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)||331,000||2017|
|YMCA- East Jerusalem||1,330,492||2015-2018|
|Human Rights Defenders Fund||100,000||2017-2018|
- Denmark committed $3.6 million to Oxfam for 2017-2020.
- Oxfam GB has received over $2.4 million from Danida through the Transitional Programme 2014 2015.
- Oxfam GB consistently paints a misleading picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict, departing from its humanitarian mission that is focused on combatting poverty.
- The organization provides grants to NGOs that further distort this mission, including Gisha, B’Tselem, Zochrot, Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, and Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).
- Most Oxfam GB statements erase all complexity and blame Israel exclusively for the conflict.
NGO Grantees (amounts in NIS)
Information for 2015-2017 based on quarterly reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits; 2013-2014 on annual reports.
- DanWatch describes itself as an “independent media and research centre specialized in investigative journalism on global issues.” However, the organization leverages this allegedly “independent” position to politically attack Israel.
- As part of the BDS campaign against Israel, DanWatch targets Israeli and European corporations, such as Ahava, G4S, Integrated Service Solutions (ISS), Israeli agricultural products, and tour operators under the guise of “business ethics.”
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark granted $837,494 (2014-2017) to DanWatch for a project called “CSR-Facility. Fonden DanWatch. A strenghened [sic] watchdog who shares all its knowledge and fosters a nuanced debate.”
- It is unclear if this is the same project funding that DanWatch receives through the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s CSR-Pool for DKK 5 million (approx. $740,000) for a project called “The Right to Food.”
- According to DanWatch, a “DanWatch-investigation” led to Danish pension fund, Sampension, to divest from four publicly traded Israeli companies.
- In contrast to DanWatch’s claim of being an “independent media and research centre,” publications regarding Israel are commissioned by organizations with a history of anti-Israel activities (i.e. DanChurchAid – see above).
- DanWatch’s “independent media and research” is based on unreliable, biased, and politicized NGOs including Who Profits, Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD), and Al-Haq, as well as “legal opinions” of Richard Falk, the highly controversial former United Nations Special Rapporteur.“
Danish funding to Palestinian and European Organizations
|The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights||2018||ICHR - Independent Commission for Human Rights - Palestine||$780,500|
|DanWatch||2016||CSR-Facility. Fonden DanWatch||$263,465|
|2015||CSR “The Right to Food||DKK 5 million* (approx. $740,000)|
|Oxfam GB||2016||Transitional Programme 2014 2015||$1,037,041|
|DanChurchAid||2017||Partnership Agreement 2017||DKK 63 million
(approx $10 million)
|2016||Partnership Agreement 2016||DKK 63 million
(approx $10 million)
*Unclear if this is a duplication of other funding or a separate grant.
Screenshots from DANIDA OpenAid – May 30, 2018
Danish funding to the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law IHL Secretariat
Danish funding to DanWatch
- MK Peri to Danish Parliament Speaker: Stop Funding BDS Lahav Harkov, The Jerusalem Post, June 8, 2016
- After Pressure from Israel, Denmark Reexamining Donations to Palestinian NGOs Barak Ravid, Haaretz, May 30, 2017
- Denmark Halts Donations to Palestinians Groups After PA Dedicates Women's Center to Terrorist The Tower, May 31, 3017